By Editorial Board | Echo
Last week, The Echo reported on Excalibur, an anonymous publication distributed across Taylor's campus. This week, we are sharing our thoughts. In this column, we will discuss Excalibur in light of The Echo's stance on anonymity and issue a challenge for campus-wide civility.
Per The Echo's policy, we do not use anonymous writers or sources. We see several disadvantages with anonymity. In cases where a writer at The Echo writes a story and we are contacted in regard to either an error or a missing perspective, we make it a point to listen to the reader and correct as necessary.
Anonymity does not provide adequate means of contact. This, in turn, robs those with counter insight the space to meet with the writer and voice their thoughts. Additionally, disclosing writers' identities protects our staff. If a writer makes a statement anonymously, speculation leads some to wrongly ascribe the views presented to the whole group or can isolate one suspected person rather than considering the full circumstance.
In this way, we think the execution of Excalibur misses the mark. We support the sharing of ideas, as we are a newspaper and include an Opinions section, with which we do not turn opinions away. Excalibur, though not a newspaper, addresses important topics worthy of dialogue, no matter what conclusion one makes. However, we believe the ability to address a person rather than a paper is important.
We challenge the writers of Excalibur to take this opportunity to not only make themselves known, but to invite dialogue with civility rather than a perceived tone of religious superiority. And that includes here. Should the writers of Excalibur feel the need to address The Echo, they have the freedom to do so on the Opinions page should they choose to reveal their identities.
We also challenge the Taylor community to consider their reactions. We see the name-calling that occurs to the few rather than realizing that one or two people do not represent a whole group. We challenge the campus community to avoid name-calling in an interrogatory manner and rather to address the individuals they would like to talk with directly. We have seen this in the reaction to Excalibur and believe this is an improper response.
Last year's chapel theme, "convicted civility," laid the framework for proper discourse in Christian community. The execution of and reaction to Excalibur, we believe, fails to exhibit this civility. Instead, maybe some writers felt the reaction was far from what they envisioned.
Some community members felt hurt or angry. Some felt Excalibur distracted from other concerns and excluded other important narratives on campus. Some care only about the names of the people behind Excalibur for interest's sake. Some are tired and frustrated with debate. Some didn't even pick up Excalibur to begin with. Whoever has encountered Excalibur and whatever their thoughts toward it, one thing we ask: open conversation.
Let's not make this an opportunity for backlashing. Let's make this an opportunity for healing. Since shock and hurt were the reaction of some, that is a reaction warranting conversation and reconciliation. If anything, we feel this shows the writers and those who reacted both felt Taylor was not a safe space to have these conversations by any other means.
If we are a university committed to create "safe spaces" for conversation and relationship, Excalibur should never have had to take place. Nor should there exist emotional charge surrounding it. Let's address this hurt in the open and truly commit to creating a safe space for all in our community.
The opinions expressed in Our View columns reflect the views of The Echo Editorial Board, and not necessarily those of Taylor University.